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AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz or Intel alternative?

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March 13, 2010 3:20:40 PM

I'm building a new gaming computer but I've still not got past the crucial stage of choosing a processor brand. The main criteria is price. Although I'm looking to get a well performing gaming computer, I really need to squeeze out the best power for the price. So far, the only Intel choices for the same price as the AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz have lower clock speeds and less cache.

I don't want any less performance than the AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz. I have heard that this processor runs extremely hot once overclocked and that it's hard to cool. Having said that, considering the amount of off-the-shelf power I may not need to overclock it for a long time...

So basically my question is; what are the main pros/cons of each brand when buying for a budget?
a b à CPUs
March 13, 2010 3:29:45 PM

If you're talking budget, AMD is the route to go down. The Phenom II X4 965 that you mentioned will provide more than enough power for your gaming needs and like you said you may not even need to overclock it for a while.

The alternative if you wanted to weigh up the cost would be the i5 750 which also performs very well in gaming. The choice is yours depending on cost.
a c 133 à CPUs
March 13, 2010 3:33:20 PM

Gizzo said:

I don't want any less performance than the AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz. I have heard that this processor runs extremely hot once overclocked and that it's hard to cool. Having said that, considering the amount of off-the-shelf power I may not need to overclock it for a long time...

So basically my question is; what are the main pros/cons of each brand when buying for a budget?


Not sure where you heard that but as far as i know it runs really good overclocked with a decent aftermarket cooler.
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a b à CPUs
March 13, 2010 3:34:56 PM

Also keep in mind that chip is a Black Edition with an unlocked multiplier which makes for easy overclocking ;)  Especially if, as mentioned, you use an aftermarket cooler.
March 13, 2010 3:56:25 PM

@SAAIELLO I didn't think that it would be a problem myself, especially since I'm planning to get a gaming case with 3 fans. I just thought I'd seek a few more opinions on that. Thanks for the re-assurance that my computer wont melt. :lol: 

@ moody89 That confirms what I already heard - good news. And yes, I made a point to go for the black edition because I'm quite new to computer building so that last thing that I need is a processor that refuses to run faster. :lol: 

Assuming that I don't overclock it at first, will it operate cool enough with the supplied heatsink and fan?
a c 133 à CPUs
March 13, 2010 4:02:03 PM

The stock heatsink for AMDs are actually quite good you can even overclock on them a little but the heat will become an issue when you start getting above 3.8ghz.
March 13, 2010 4:22:15 PM

saaiello said:
The stock heatsink for AMDs are actually quite good you can even overclock on them a little but the heat will become an issue when you start getting above 3.8ghz.


Well I can always upgrade in future if needed. Thanks.
a c 83 à CPUs
a b À AMD
March 13, 2010 5:22:49 PM

Gizzo said:
I'm building a new gaming computer but I've still not got past the crucial stage of choosing a processor brand. The main criteria is price. Although I'm looking to get a well performing gaming computer, I really need to squeeze out the best power for the price. So far, the only Intel choices for the same price as the AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz have lower clock speeds and less cache.

I don't want any less performance than the AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz. I have heard that this processor runs extremely hot once overclocked and that it's hard to cool. Having said that, considering the amount of off-the-shelf power I may not need to overclock it for a long time...

So basically my question is; what are the main pros/cons of each brand when buying for a budget?


Clock speed/cache isn't every thing. Intel's I5 750 may have a lower clock speed, but it out performs the Phenom II 965 in a wide variety of tasks. If you are overclocking I can't recommend a Phenom II 965, either spend the extra $10 on the better performing I5, or save $30 and get the Phenom II 955 as it will overclock the same as the Phenom II 965.
March 13, 2010 6:04:22 PM

Yea, get the 955 BE and make sure it's the C3 stepping (newest) model with 8mb of L3; up the multiplier from 16 to 17 and you will have an instant 965 at 30 or so dollars less.
If your primarily gaming, watching videos, surfing, the Phenom II line is ideal and often tops the i5's slightly when gaming.
March 13, 2010 6:37:17 PM

SV_Bubbles said:
Yea, get the 955 BE and make sure it's the C3 stepping (newest) model with 8mb of L3; up the multiplier from 16 to 17 and you will have an instant 965 at 30 or so dollars less.
If your primarily gaming, watching videos, surfing, the Phenom II line is ideal and often tops the i5's slightly when gaming.


Although the price is less, would the system be cooler and less under strain if I just went for a card that is at that speed off-the-shelf?
March 13, 2010 10:23:33 PM

Gizzo said:
Although the price is less, would the system be cooler and less under strain if I just went for a card that is at that speed off-the-shelf?


No - under the circumstance that you are comparing the C3 stepping 955 to the C3 965. Technically the 965 is the 'best of the bunch' and should be easily capable of a 600MHz overclock yet we have heard very little disappointment from people with 955's and it's ability to do the same. If your wondering if a 955 @ 3.4GHz will under perform to a 965 @ 3.4GHz, it won't. They are basically the same processor with different stock multipliers so both of them being clocked at the same speed equates to a 0% difference.

The stepping is a factory processor tweak essentially. The higher the version usually equates to lower heat and better overclocks and in this particular case, more cache.

Where-as you seem to be a bit worried about heat (I've also got a soft spot for cold equipment), you may want to use the stock cooler for a while and save for something like a Corsair H50 which is a small contained and localized CPU water cooling system. It's about 75 bucks (U.S.), but from there you could overclock and be worry free.
March 14, 2010 10:54:35 AM

Gizzo, if you want to build a computer for gaming, you 'll be better with AMD. Phenom processors are optimised for gaming and there isn't much difference between an AMD Phenom II X4 965 and an i7-930 in gaming, but there is in pricing with the 965 being much cheaper.However, i7 will easily outperform the current Phenom line in most of the other applications.My recommendation is to wait until late April to see the new line of AMD Phenom processors, compare it with i7 and then make your decision.Nvidia will have released most of its Fermi cards by that time, so you will also have more options for your video card selection.
March 14, 2010 6:08:05 PM

NST said:
Gizzo, if you want to build a computer for gaming, you 'll be better with AMD. Phenom processors are optimised for gaming and there isn't much difference between an AMD Phenom II X4 965 and an i7-930 in gaming, but there is in pricing with the 965 being much cheaper.However, i7 will easily outperform the current Phenom line in most of the other applications.My recommendation is to wait until late April to see the new line of AMD Phenom processors, compare it with i7 and then make your decision.Nvidia will have released most of its Fermi cards by that time, so you will also have more options for your video card selection.


When you say outperform; is it a performance difference that you'd only notice using speed analysing software?
When the new line of Phenom's come out would it still be worth buying the current line at a much cheaper sale price?
I heard about the Fermi cards but I've also heard allot about Nvidia cards having blackouts/blue screens etc. Any opinions on this?

So many questions. :lol: 
March 14, 2010 6:26:23 PM

Quote:
When you say outperform; is it a performance difference that you'd only notice using speed analysing software?


I 'd notice it.Let's say you want to compress a file, i7-920 will do it 25% faster than AMD Phenom II X4 965 for example.But in gaming, as I aforementioned, they are equal.

Quote:
When the new line of Phenom's come out would it still be worth buying the current line at a much cheaper sale price?


By any means, 'no'.Case one: You want a futureproofed system --> get more cores.Why not buy a six-core CPU at the price of i7-930?Case two: New Quad-core Phenom processors will also be released, so you will be able to buy a faster quad-core than X4 965 in the current pricetag of X4 965.

March 14, 2010 6:42:11 PM

Quote:
I heard about the Fermi cards but I've also heard allot about Nvidia cards having blackouts/blue screens etc. Any opinions on this?


These are drivers' issues.I am not be able to know anything about future Fermi drivers.However, problems that occurred in the past cannot ensure that there will be future problems.
a b à CPUs
March 14, 2010 9:18:49 PM

@ Gizzo
If you look at Gaming benchmarks, quite often the reason why the 965 comes out tied is because of the GPU bottle necks. Just use the Tom's best Gaming CPU for the money or Anandtech CPU benchmark archive for specific applications and be happy and normalize for price accordingly.

I'd hold off on the Fermi cards until the verdict is in.

In the medium term, I don't see much movement on current mid-range prices. Presumably, the new Thubans will compete on the high-end where AMD doesn't have a horse and Intel names their price. It might make things interesting above $200 but that is about it.
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a c 114 À AMD
March 14, 2010 9:25:26 PM

The thing that people haven't said here but is every bit as relevant is that the AMD motherboards are a good deal less money for the same features as their Intel counterparts. I don't know what country you're in but newegg.com sells a 2-slot AM3 Crossfire board for $60. NO Intel board comes even close to that and it's a good name too.

ASRock M3A770DE - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The ASRock M3A770DE is the best value on a 2-slot board that I've ever seen. Regardless of where you live, I'd recommend searching for that board, especially since ASRock was originally the OEM division of the world leader in motherboards, ASUS. Gaming is mostly about having a CPU that won't bottleneck your GPU. Even a Phenom II X4 940 3.0GHz like mine won't bottleneck even a Radeon HD 5970.

"And the Lord said 'Go with AMD my son.' and so it came to pass." :sol: 
March 15, 2010 12:04:20 AM

Quote:
In the medium term, I don't see much movement on current mid-range prices. Presumably, the new Thubans will compete on the high-end where AMD doesn't have a horse and Intel names their price. It might make things interesting above $200 but that is about it.


Thuban isn't an one-off processor like Gulftown, there will be at least 3 of them released in April, so there are many possibilities that one of them will have midrange pricing.Also, don't forget the Zosma and Deneb quad cores.
March 15, 2010 4:52:21 AM

You couldn't go wrong either way, but I would buy a 955 C3 stepping, it's the best deal available right now.
March 15, 2010 6:15:11 AM

I agree with the AMD route. Got my own 955 BE a few weeks back after some heavy research.

It saves you money down the line, and AMD themselves have made a point to the public that AM3 is here to stay, at least for a while. So as far as motherboards, and upgrading... you'll thank yourself for the AMD choice. Intel is going to be switching sockets regularly, so investing a top-of-the-line AMD Phenom II X4 at this point would be the smartest thing to do. With the money you save, you might as well get a fantastic MOBO with the latest USB3.0, SATA6 etc. and you'll still come off cheaper than going the Intel route.

And the 955 BE is a beast, more power than you'll ever need. It barely moves during gaming (well not over 25% per core) which is great. Everything's a breeze for it, including the price ;) .

Rev. C3 is more energy efficient and cooler than the C2, but it's gradually being phased out. Also, be sure if you're getting your MOBO that its latest BIOS support C3. (As of Jan/Feb '10) most manufacturers have shifted to C3 support by default so shouldn't have to worry about it ;) . Mine was a C3 and the MOBO came with the latest BIOS too.
March 15, 2010 3:40:43 PM

Qemix said:
I agree with the AMD route. Got my own 955 BE a few weeks back after some heavy research.

It saves you money down the line, and AMD themselves have made a point to the public that AM3 is here to stay, at least for a while. So as far as motherboards, and upgrading... you'll thank yourself for the AMD choice. Intel is going to be switching sockets regularly, so investing a top-of-the-line AMD Phenom II X4 at this point would be the smartest thing to do. With the money you save, you might as well get a fantastic MOBO with the latest USB3.0, SATA6 etc. and you'll still come off cheaper than going the Intel route.

And the 955 BE is a beast, more power than you'll ever need. It barely moves during gaming (well not over 25% per core) which is great. Everything's a breeze for it, including the price ;) .

Rev. C3 is more energy efficient and cooler than the C2, but it's gradually being phased out. Also, be sure if you're getting your MOBO that its latest BIOS support C3. (As of Jan/Feb '10) most manufacturers have shifted to C3 support by default so shouldn't have to worry about it ;) . Mine was a C3 and the MOBO came with the latest BIOS too.


Yep, so many choices aren't there? :lol: 

I'm going to go for either the 955 or the 965 - most likely the 965 since I'd rather not overclock it at first. If I did decide to overclock, does the black edition of either of these processors, being unlocked, simply overclock by setting it in the BIOS?

C3 was always what I was looking for. I'm going for all the latest; Quad core, DDR3, C3, USB 3 etc. because I'm paying allot and I don't want expensive replacements for a long time.
March 15, 2010 3:42:30 PM

NST said:
Quote:
When you say outperform; is it a performance difference that you'd only notice using speed analysing software?


I 'd notice it.Let's say you want to compress a file, i7-920 will do it 25% faster than AMD Phenom II X4 965 for example.But in gaming, as I aforementioned, they are equal.

Quote:
When the new line of Phenom's come out would it still be worth buying the current line at a much cheaper sale price?


By any means, 'no'.Case one: You want a futureproofed system --> get more cores.Why not buy a six-core CPU at the price of i7-930?Case two: New Quad-core Phenom processors will also be released, so you will be able to buy a faster quad-core than X4 965 in the current pricetag of X4 965.


1. I'm also planning on allot of video rendering so I'm assuming that compression would include that?
2. Are there any confirmed or approximate release dates for the new line of X4 Phenoms?
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2010 5:54:21 PM

What is the new line X4 Phenoms you are talking about in this thread. There will be a x6 phenom coming soon. There is also going to be a 975 3.6 phenom II. AMD's next line of cpus will be bulldozer.

For a gaming build you with the AMD.

But you do alot of video rendering which the Intel is probably going to be a good deal faster. Look up some benchmarks of the program/programs you will be using to render and see how the chips compare. Then decide if it is worth the money for the more expensive Intel build.
March 15, 2010 7:21:44 PM

someguy7 said:
What is the new line X4 Phenoms you are talking about in this thread. There will be a x6 phenom coming soon. There is also going to be a 975 3.6 phenom II. AMD's next line of cpus will be bulldozer.

For a gaming build you with the AMD.

But you do alot of video rendering which the Intel is probably going to be a good deal faster. Look up some benchmarks of the program/programs you will be using to render and see how the chips compare. Then decide if it is worth the money for the more expensive Intel build.


Somebody here mentioned replacement X4 Phenom's are coming soon...

I will do. It's just Sony Vegas / After Effects so I'm not convinced that it's going to be too much faster but I will see...
!